It isn’t a stretch to say that right now we are all collectively finding it nearly impossible to find new talent. Everywhere I go, and in almost all conversations I have, business leaders are saying the same thing—where’d all the people go?!

Recruitment challenges

There’s one business leader that comes to mind who exemplifies this struggle. This person holds the role of General Manager for a warehousing business of about 50 staff. The business has multiple empty roles they’ve been unable to recruit for successfully in recent times. So, for the past three months, the GM has been on the floor working with their production staff to cover the shortages. It’s at the point where this GM is now literally working two jobs in one. The employee shortage has become so dire that the company is having to turn down business, and redirect their clients and customers to competitors, because they simply don’t have the staff to service those accounts.

The market is tight, and unfortunately, our current labour shortage is forecast to continue. While some turnover is inevitable in any business, it’s imperative that you are able to retain your good employees, and avoid having to go to market, wherever possible.

Adding fun (strategically)

What I've found inspiring lately is seeing proactive Kiwi organisations showing care and creativity with their people, investing in them, and the organisational culture, in order to support retention. A local business that I’m in touch with has done just that, and decided that bringing a bit of fun into the mix was what was needed.

Their strategic retention plan includes a schedule where every three months, they put on a fun team day for their people. The most recent fun day included vision casting, input into aspects of team culture – communication development, personality profiling etc, and most importantly, a big old shared feast!

What a great way to value your staff. But what stands out to me the most isn’t the specific things that make up the day, but the space that the day creates. Having time set aside like this enables people to slow down, pause, reflect and most importantly connect with each other outside of work tasks. Giving people the chance to do this is invaluable. And this isn’t a frivolous pursuit. Research shows that fun has a positive impact on employee engagement, creativity, and retention.

Closer to home

I know this from personal experience. Recently my own leader arranged a team day for The People Place. It was an awesome occasion, and I could rave endlessly about how inspiring the day was, the positive impact resulting from the whole team having input, and the delicious food we ate throughout the day. However, what stands out the most, was that I left that day feeling happy and valued. Happy to be part of a wonderful team, and a business going places. I felt valued because I was able again to pause, and reconnect my job purpose with that of the business.

Meaningful investment

I believe that bringing the fun and investing in people is something every organisation should do, regardless of the political, physical and economic environment. Right now, retention is a real issue and one we’re all facing. If you want to front foot this in your business, I highly recommend looking into the different ways you can enhance and build a positive organisation culture—with team fun days being just one potential string of the bow. If done well, you won’t regret the time and investment. In the lead up to Christmas and planning for next year, what are you doing to encourage positive, thriving, accountable and fun culture? Now is the time to act.

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you are looking for ways to enhance retention in your organisation, we’ve got plenty of ideas and solutions. You can email or call us on +64 9 300 7224. It's an Auckland number but we are located and work nationwide.